Saturday, September 17, 2016
it's been a "get-over-jet-lag" day
Anyone who has crossed several time zones, resets the watch and then tries to carry on as though still at home knows what happens. Usually in 24-36 hours you hit a wall of total exhaustion that cannot be put off one minute more. It's sleep or die. Or at least it feels that way. This phenom hit me yesterday afternoon. It hit Mr. C today and he was out cold until around 3 PM this afternoon, his sleep interrupted by morning coffee, then lunch. Finally we got it together and went out for a walk, some little shopping chores, and to just get some exercise. A couple of miles later we're back just in time for some nice bread and cheese, olives and a glass of wine. So civilized.
It being Saturday, tout le monde was out and about doing what the French do best: eating, drinking, talking and, best of all, shopping. Let me deal with each of those national characteristics. First the eating/drinking. Cafés are full all day. This could be because nobody wants to cook because cafés can do it cheaper and you don't have to clean up. It could be because most French apartments have kitchens smaller than a standard walk-in closet (yet they make and sell some of the most spectacular cookware and tableware in the world. Go figure.) Café food is, for the most part, really excellent. Simple, good ingredients, well prepared, well priced. I'm not talking about places vying for a Michelin star or getting written up for the wait-time for a reservation. I'm referring to the zillions of small neighborhood spots whose sole purpose is to serve good, honest meals.
It's in these neighborhood cafes and bistros that you find the French indulging in another of their great pastimes: talk. Jesus, these people can talk for hours and hours without stop! Loud, animated talk accompanied by facial gymnastics, arm waving, forehead slapping and, if on an outside terrace, hungry sucking on foul-smelling Gitane or Galoise cigarettes. If these's a lone diner, that person will be holding a lively conversation with whoever is on the other end of the cell phone, all the time enjoying a solitary meal. They talk constantly except, I have noticed, on the Metro. Complete silence, even between people who know each other. They talk while on the platform but once in the carriage, nothing. The minute the doors open and passengers step out, the chatter begins anew. I have absolutely no idea why. It can't be the lack of privacy on the Metro; the volume of talk in a restaurant insures that everyone knows exactly what you think about anything you mention.
The shopping is epic. Saturday is the tradition shopping day in Paris. Not for food; they do that every day and the myriad tiny purveyors along every street. Saturday is when for necessities like pants, shoes, jewelry, etc. Or for something like this that I spotted on our walk up rue de Temple.
I just wanted to go into the shop and touch it. Probably silver grey fox. (There is a big fur section in the 10th arrondissement where there are blocks of fur merchants and workshops where beautiful clothes are made. When my sister and I were here in 1985 we stayed in a hotel in the 10th, across the street from a fur showroom and we could see hundreds of beautiful pelts hanging on a sort of conveyor belt ~ such as in the dry cleaners ~ where buyers or designers could come and check out the goods.) Paris is one of the places where shops give out beautiful bags with your purchase and, just like in the movies or the tabloids, you can see very young women hauling their loot around in bright, glitzy bags that provide not only a vehicle for getting the stuff home but also very visible advertisements for where that particular shopper found her treasures. I guess I do too much on-line shopping to truly appreciate this particular type of peacockiness.
Mr. C is feeling much restored and thinks he's ready for a trip to the Marché Bastille tomorrow (aka Richard Lemoine). I hope it's not raining because it is a fabulous place. I'll also tell you about the fate of the old Marché Carreau, now enjoying a second life as an "events" site. Sad, sad, sad.
From the guest bedroom you can see these beautiful window box gardens. Note the graceful lamp. I'll take a shot of it lit so you can see how pretty the street is at night.
Thus ends our second day here. Forgot to add that I took a shower yesterday and damned near flooded the place. Everything in the bathroom ~ other towels, bath mat, toilet paper, wall mirror ~ got soaked. Problem? Shower curtain waaaay to small. It's going to be baths from now on.